Why 21st Century Socialism?

Cliff DuRand
Thursday, December 1, 2016

State socialism in 20th century

Historical conditions of the model:

* insurrections brought revolutionaries to state power

            * with popular support a revolutionary state undertook to build socialism

            * state ownership of means of production in name of the working class.

            * rational planning of the economy in interest of working class

* These revolutions did not occur in advanced capitalist societies that had reached the limits of what is possible under capitalist relations, where Marx thought the conditions would exist for socialism.  Rather they occurred in underdeveloped societies.  And so the socialist state focused on developing the forces of production – the economism of developmental socialism

* result: verticalism & bureaucratism of a paternalistic state.  Rather than the state withering away, civil society withered away.

Reinventing socialism in 21st century

* Building socialism from the bottom up by developing socialist relations within civil society   --contra economism.

* Empowerment of popular classes in daily life in their communities.

* Zapatista model:  participatory democratic development within communities –what John Holloway called changing the world without taking power, i.e. state power.   Constituent power is prioritized for development.

* In effect this is what is being done in Venezuela and in Cuba as they undertake to reinvent socialism  --only the constituted power of a revolutionary state is nurturing the development of constituent power.

* Rejuvenation of civil society, only it is a socialist civil society based on cooperative relations among the associated producers and socialist values of responsibility, democratic decision making and social solidarity.

* The new socialist human being is to be built through protagonistic democracy at the local level.

* At the same time the local little schools of socialism operate within a national context governed by a socialist state.